Friday, March 22, 2013

Time=Lives Story of the Week: Jessica Foley

Encouraging the next generation of scientists

“What motivates me is working in a field where every day it's changing, it’s challenging, and it’s exciting.”

Meet Jessica Foley. She’s the Scientific Director at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation (FUSF) and a long-time advocate for greater use of the focused ultrasound, a revolutionary technology that allows for the treatment of numerous diseases without the danger of invasive surgery or a lengthy recovery time.

Watch Jessica’s story here.

Currently, MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of uterine fibroids, and has obtained CE-mark approval in Europe for uterine fibroids and pain from bone metastases.  However, the possibilities for this technology are countless - with ongoing clinical trials for breast tumors and brain tumors, and plans to begin additional research into it's impact on several other kinds of tumors, stroke, and epilepsy.

For over 12 years, Jessica has had a rich career as a scientist and researcher in this novel field. Before joining FUSF, she worked with InSightec and Medtronic, and also served as a 2011-2012 AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation.

We met up with Jessica at last year’s Celebration of Science to talk about what she envisions for future generations of scientists and researchers and the challenges they may face with today’s economic shortcomings. She emphasized the need to elevate the role of science in our society so we can attract and engage tomorrow's innovators.

"Years ago [the public] seemed to get it," said Jessica, who holds a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and a PhD in Bioengineering (emphasis in focused ultrasound) from the University of Washington.  "And maybe not everyone gets it now, but I hope that through all sorts of projects we're trying to work on we can get to that point again where kids want to grow up and be scientists and engineers."

To learn more about the Focused Ultrasound Foundation visit

And make sure to check out the TIME=LIVES campaign for more stories about the power and promise of medical research, and to help spread the message that research matters and needs to be a national priority.

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